Manchester City set to play Toronto FC at BMO Field in May

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It’s about that time for the deluge of European tour news to hit the headlines, and a big one dropped Wednesday in Ontario.

Wednesday, May 27, will find Manchester City coming to Canada for a match-up with Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Toronto FC at refurbished and expanded BMO Field in Toronto.

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The game will be played just three days after City’s Premier League season finale against Southampton, and the club did not announce details as to what sort of size squad would travel for the match.

City is also headed to Australia this summer, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll face affiliate club New York City FC or avoid what could be an interesting trip given the Frank Lampard fiasco.

The match gives TFC three matches in eight days.

Toronto FC breaks ground for stadium renovations

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In what seems to be the hottest trend in soccer, Toronto FC has broken ground for new stadium renovations.

BMO Field, which holds just under 22,000 fans, will increase capacity to nearly 30,000 during phase one of the project. Phase two would add a roof over the seats while installing new light and audio fixtures. Both phases have a combined budget of $120 million.

Club captain Steven Caldwell was on-hand at the groundbreaking ceremony, and was excited about the direction the club and the league are moving in.

“When you spend that amount of money on renovations, it’s definitely going to improve. The capacity is getting more in tune with the Premier League, so that’s very exciting. I think it just shows the growth of MLS and where it’s heading that everybody wants to improve their stadium.”

After joining the MLS as an expansion team in 2007, Toronto enjoyed a passionate fan base for its first few seasons. However, the team’s poor play over the past few years have disappointed the Toronto faithful. A renovated stadium and improved game day experience could help restore the city’s passion for their club.

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The stadium also serves as the home field for the Canadian men’s national soccer team and the Canadian national rugby team. There is a proposed third phase that would bring the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts to BMO Field as well. To accommodate a Canadian football team, the stadium would have to add another extension to expand. This phase has not yet been approved.

Nelsen tabs goal-scoring Defoe for World Cup: “If I was Roy Hodgson, I’d pick him in a heartbeat, but I’m Ryan Nelsen”

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TORONTO, Canada — Jermain Defoe was at it again on Saturday, seemingly everywhere on a sloppy pitch as he carved up DC United before finishing one of his myriad chances to give Toronto FC a win in its home opener.

It was impossible not to notice his quality, and his manager certainly did.

“I’ve gotta watch what I say here cause if I was Roy Hodgson, I’d pick him in a heartbeat, but I’m Ryan Nelsen,” said the TFC manager. “What I’d say is he’s got a natural ability to do what you’ve seen out there. If he keeps this up, he’s obviously putting up himself up as a candidate for the striker (position).”

Defoe’s goal Saturday was more of the poacher’s variety, as he coolly slotted in a rebound of a Gilberto attempt. Michael Bradley started the play with a gorgeous ball over the top that had Nelsen searching for the right adjectives.

“The ball from Michael Bradley and the run to Gilberto for the goal was just gorgeous to tell the truth,” Nelsen said. “Beautiful. It was such a weighted pass and touch and shot. It was a good save and it was only going to ever fall to one guy. It always does fall for him.”

Bradley was asked about the difference between playing against Defoe and having him as a teammate. The American midfielder chose to go a different route with his response, praising him effusively.

“He gets chances and scores goals,” Bradley said. “He works for the team. He finds himself in good spots. He knows we need him coming other need. He sniffs out chances and when chances fall for him, he’s really good at knowing what he wants to do with it.”

For his part, Defoe admitted the American game is a tough one. For the second straight week the Englishman took a beating, including some out of the way shots from Jeff Parke.

“It’s difficult,” Defoe said. “On a personal note, you’re playing against defenders who are really physical. But you’ve gotta embrace it. I’m playing with a good team.”

Live from BMO Field: Cold not keeping TFC fans from buzzing ahead of home opener

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“I am excited, obviously, but given the club’s history I’m anxious too. It wouldn’t surprise me if Defoe blew his knee out today and never played again.”

That’s the statement from Michael, one of many Toronto FC (1-0-0) supporters buzzing about BMO Field for today’s home opener against DC United (0-1-0).

The longtime season ticker holder is far from a loner in his thoughts. For a club that’s only been playing since 2007, Reds supporters have done the dangerous dance with great expectations on plenty of occasions.

source:  But Amado Guevara and Torsten Frings are one thing; The bevy of choice offseason acquisitions by Tim Bezbatchenko are another. With Michael Bradley, Julio Cesar, Gilberto, Dwayne De Rosario and Jermain Defoe in the fold, fans are ready for the on-field roar to match the noise the Red Patch Boys have been making from the stands for years.

Defoe seems to carry a reverence already, with his two goals against Seattle to open the season only buoying the optimism regarding the diminutive forward. Over an hour from kickoff and the supporters have already placed a banner depicting a celebrating Defoe on the English flag, his surname broken up by his torso: “DE FOE.”

It’s a windy and cold day in Ontario, with the city skyline across from the press box and inviting fans indoors. But not today, not with so much excitement and so much promise on the pitch, still patchy and fighting the winter like its city. Folks have come from all directions for the match; even Buffalo, N.Y., had several dozen on a bus across the border to witness Bradley and Co.’s debut.

All three Toronto DPs are in the lineup for the Reds, while Eddie Johnson will up-top for DC United against his American teammate Bradley.

source:

LINEUPS

Toronto FC: Cesar; Caldwell (c), Henry, Morrow, Bloom; Bradley, Osorio, Goncalves, Rey; Gilberto, Defoe

Subs: Bendik; Orr, Morgan, Hagglund; Bekker, Wiedeman, De Rosario

DC United: Hamid; Parke, Fernandez, Franklin, Boswell (c); Arnaud, De Leon, Silva, Kitchen; Johnson, Espindola

Subs: Dykstra; Porter, Martin, Doyle, Jeffrey, Kemp, Attakora

And, oh yeah… nice scarves handed out for a cold day in Canada:

source:

BBC report: Blackburn’s Bradley Orr bound for Toronto FC

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Turns out, there’s yet another England man set to join Toronto FC, following this week’s big announcement that England international Jermain Defoe was bound for duty at BMO Field.

Bradley Orr is hardly the name that Defoe is, although Orr did dabble in the Premier League bigs with Queens Park Rangers. Mostly Orr has been a second-tier type, which isn’t bad at all.

At Toronto he’s likely to be first-choice right back for Ryan Nelsen’s club, especially considering he comes from one of Nelsen’s only clubs. (Not saying Nelsen would succumb to favoritism; rather, saying that Nelsen presumably still has trusted contacts and knows exactly what he’s getting in the 31-year-old defender.)

With Richard Eckersley and his inflated salary apparently on the way out, youngsters Mark Bloom and Ryan Richter would be the competition at right back around BMO, where the club just added key U.S. man Michael Bradley in addition to Defoe.

The BBC reported late Saturday that Orr will be loaned to Toronto and that the move could turn into a purchase by this time next year.